Should You Pull?
If you're looking for another All nuker, or more Fire Breaks, this is a pretty solid banner. Okina's just good - not the best unit ever, but good. Note she'll get a nice bump once Chapter 3 Act 2 is out with its farmable Story Card, but she'll still maintain a position of "great, but not the top." This is a Festival banner, and as such Okina will not be added to the general pool when it is over, so get her now or wait for a rerun.
+Very high damage potential in longer fights
+Abundance of Barrier Breaks, including P0 Fire on a Basic Shot
+Solid CRIT and Killer support
+Star Element is a nice aid in farming event stages with one boss, as Star weakness is relatively common - though watch out for Star resist, which is also common.
-Somewhat inconsistent due to CRIT based nature
-Reliant on (very common) Killers. She does a ton of damage with them, but watch out for the rare enemies who dodge them.
Usually, these articles open with an explanation of the character themselves. However, due to the extremely long explanation required to even scratch the surface of what’s going on with Okina Matara, her lore explanation will come after the gameplay analysis.
As a Friend in LostWord, Okina Matara is a CRIT heavy attacker who also brings considerable support to CRIT heavy and Killer units, alongside a rather solid assortment of Barrier Breaks. As most of her kit is useful, we’ll go over it part by part. To start off with, her attacks: Her Focus Shot, Backdraft, has 1 Solo targeting Fire Break at 0 Power - as such, it’s a unlimited source of Fire Breaks, which is always handy. Her first Spell Card, Back Sign: Halo of the Secret God, is primarily useful for its 2 levels of Accuracy up to the entire party for 2 turns - this is especially useful when paired with other CRIT attackers, as they tend to have massive accuracy problems. It also possesses a below average 0/1/1/2 All targeting Star Breaks for 0/1/2/3 Power. Next, her second Spell Card, Hidden Spring: Magician of Abnormal Falling Petals, possesses a great 1/2/2/4 Solo targeting Fire Breaks for 0/1/2/3 Power - fantastic for Full Breaking Fire weak targets in combination with her Focus Shot.
Lastly for her attacks, her All targeting Last Word, Fantasy Simulation Hypothesis, is a doozy. Possessing a 1-1-3 layout, it would seem as though it's only offensively useful in harder/longer fights. However, it has Divine Spirit, Youkai, Human & Fairy Killer on the first bullet, meaning that it can sometimes get the job done on All targeting friendly event farm stages - especially those weak to Star. However, it still falls flat to Star resistant foes, or fights without a Killer target. It still definitely shines in harder fights, due to the backloaded nature, the previously mentioned Killer, the abundance of CRIT, and even if you aren't using it for damage, a fantastic number of Breaks: 3 Earth and 3 Star for 3 Power, which is fantastic on an All targeting attack. Just keep in mind that, without some CRIT Accuracy setup or support, it’ll be somewhat inconsistent. Additionally, it will be considerably stronger in the future when Chapter 3 Act 2 is released, alongside a Story Card that provides a whopping 50% Heavy DMG UP and 2 Levels of CRIT ATK UP - until then, it will be weaker than reports from the JP side of the game may lead you to expect.
Skills wise, her character ability, Capable of creating doors on the backs of anything, gives the entire party 1 level of CRIT Accuracy UP for 1 turn every time she Grazes - unfortunately it’s not as good as you’d hope, due to her nature as an attacker who wants setup time forcing her and her teammates to find a solution to the 1 turn duration of these buffs, since she’ll need to Graze to avoid being knocked out. It’s also at its best with other CRIT attackers with about 30% Critical Accuracy on their Last Word, as ones with 50% base can typically make their own Crits 100% accurate without outside aid. Her first skill, Mental Energy Manipulation, at least partially compliments this by letting her restore 1 Barrier every 4 turns (it also gives her Yin ATK but Yin ATK is kinda worthless for her). Her second skill, Life Energy Manipulation, gives her 1 Spirit Power UP, Charge, and Accuracy - a fantastic set for harder fights, though keep in mind the Accuracy is 1 level up for 3 with only a 80% chance for 1 more, which hinders her farming ability and can be annoying in harder fights. Lastly, her third skill, Back Door Opening, gives the whole party 2 levels of CRIT ATK Up for 2 turns - the low turn count is unfortunate, but it’s still nice support for both CRIT heavy and Killer attackers.
Overall, Okina is an okay farmer and a great unit for harder fights, especially when her best Story Card (which is also farmable from the main story!) comes out. You can’t go wrong with this Friend - well, so long as you sing her praises and make sure to prepare yourself for her bragging.
As for Okina, the character: In Gensokyo, there are a group of youkai and gods known as “sages” who worked together to establish the land, and keep it safe behind the scenes. Okina Matara is one of those sages, and she’s a doozy of a character. First, let’s explain the myths behind Okina - she is based off of the god Matara-jin, whom is a many faced god of Tendai Buddhisim. It'd be easier to say what he didn't have a hand in - for starters, Matara-jin was a god of destiny, stars, and outcast groups - the last of which were associated with holidays that took place within the areas of Buddhist temples behind the main object of worship - literally, within the "backdoor" area. He was also associated with repelling diseases and other spiritual issues, especially the tengu. On top of this, Matara-jin was also venerated as a god of noh plays. That's not even getting into him also often being stated to be Okuninushi, whom is also a hodgepodge of a ton of myths such as being the owner of the Miracle Mallet, the savior of the White Hare of Inaba, among other feats...or being Hata no Kawakatsu, whom Prince Shotoku (known in Touhou as Toyosatomimi no Miko) commissioned to create a new performance art and set of masks, leading to the birth of Shinto ritual dancing (and, in Touhou, the character Hata no Kokoro, whom is the tsukumogami of those masks).
All of this is to say that the myth that Okina is based off of is extremely deep, resulting in both LostWord and the Touhou fandom as a whole constantly referencing all sorts of esoteric stuff with the secret god. If you ever see Okina drawn with something or someone that seems to make no sense, it probably has something to do with the laundry list of myths she’s directly or indirectly related to.
In Touhou, Okina is mercifully much simpler. She’s a rather selfish, arrogant god who laid low for awhile, and then decided that she wanted to make a comeback. A grand comeback. So, she took control of the seasons themselves and made them go haywire in the plot of Hidden Star in Four Seasons, to engrave her presence into the minds and souls of Gensokyo’s inhabitants and keep them from ever forgetting her. Whilst she’s arrogant enough to throw the very seasons themselves into disarray just to loudly remind people that she exists, Okina has the power to back it up.
For abilities, Okina has three primary powers of note. She can control a ton of life energy, which she can use to empower others - or even outright create new Youkai, as was the case for Aunn Komano, who was a komainu statue which Okina poured life energy into. Additionally, she can create a door on the back of anything - essentially, this means she can teleport to anywhere she wishes, using her personal realm, the Land of the Backdoor, to travel between these doors. The last power is the manipulation of mental energy, but it’s not really clear what this means, as she’s never been shown using it - perhaps this is the way she keeps her servants, Mai and Satono, enthralled under her command.
As befitting the ton of myths behind her, Okina’s design ties into her nature very heavily. Her tabard is based off of the Big Dipper, reflecting her status as a god of stars. She's also often drawn sitting on a throne or wheelchair, to reflect her status as a god of the disabled - that they’re here, they’re strong, and just as capable as anyone else. The object she has near her and uses in some of her attacks is a Tsuzumi drum, a hand drum of Japanese origin that factors heavily into the musical style of music used in noh plays. Even her hat is a reference, with the three points reflecting the abundance of importance the number 3 has in the myths she's related to.
We would be here all day if I went into every last little reference or myth tied to Okina, but that’s most of the important ones. Overall, she’s just a braggart of a god, with a ton of mythology behind her.